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Texas divorce settlements carry the weight of the future

Cultures, religions, states and spouses differ on the meaning and responsibilities of marriage. Married life carries societal and individual expectations. For legal purposes, U.S. marriages are contracts between two people. Under current federal and Texas rules, recognized marriage includes members of the opposite sex.

At an elementary level, the divorce process severs a marriage agreement to return individuals to an independent, single state. As ex-spouses and their attorneys know, divorce is often anything but simple.

When people marry, families, possessions and income come together. New assets and bills become marital property. Parenthood brings additional obligations. Spouses’ lives are entangled by choices in every way. The tighter the marital knot is tied the more unwieldy it becomes to undo the binding of a marriage contract.

Couples who decide to divorce have several matters to resolve. Attorneys strongly emphasize that financial and custody agreements created during divorce settlements are a high priority. These are new relationship contracts that have long-lasting effects on every party involved, including a couple’s children.

Texas child support payments are based on formulas that are tweaked to fit the parents’ financial circumstances. For a single child, the starting point is frequently 20 percent of a support payer’s net income. The rate increases by about five percent with every additional child.

A judge’s custody decision is based on child welfare and encourages the participation of both spouses. One parent often has primary custody while the other enjoys visitation privileges. Some parents design plans to share physical custody or mediate an alternative. A court will agree as long as a child’s -- not the parents’ -- best interests are met.

Agreements are also made to provide an ex-spouse with economic support, called spousal support, through divorce and spousal maintenance following the decree. Maintenance is usually not permanent.

Divorce solutions are not easy but can be made clear with the guidance of a legal professional.


Source:  huffingtonpost.com, "Top Three Concerns of Divorcing Moms" Natalie Gregg, Apr. 26, 2013

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